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Devendra Banhart – Cripple Crow

Devendra Banhart is the newly-anointed “new new age” hero of the indie set. He’s been known to rock a bindi, and not in Gwen Stefani fashion. Cripple Crow is his fourth studio album, and possibly his most ambitious.


It’s 21 songs of long-haired neo-hippie quirky folkiness that’s won enough praise from music rags major and minor that I don’t feel I have to join the party. My taste in singer-songwriters falls far from butterflies and fairies and sitars, and I really can’t stomach warbling. On a few tracks he drops into a sexy ragged voice, particularly “Long Haired Child” and “Lazy Butterfly” (see what I mean? There’s also one called “Dragonflys”) and later on, “Little Boys,” which makes me feel slightly creepy liking it, because its chorus goes “I see so many little boys I want to marry.” Child-molester chic aside, that song has a swing like the classic “I Will Follow Him.”

Banhart’s lyrics range from the banal (“Chinese Children,” which spans the world but claims that “I’ll still have chinese children”) to the humorous (“The Beatles,” which points out the sad fact that “Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr/Are the only Beatles in the world.”) My Spanish isn’t good enough to translate the Spanish songs without a lyric sheet, so I can’t really comment on those, but mostly Banhart seems to take a Tori Amos-like pride in lyrics that don’t make a whole lot of sense.

If you like your pop sunny and sixties acid-drenched, your men long-haired and bearded, and think a Latin-tinged Bob Dylan (vocally, not lyrically) seems like a good idea, check him out. I’ll be in my dark corner listening to Nick Cave.


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